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Revitalized brand brings momentum to the St. Petersburg Pier district

Case Study

Challenge: Since the early 2000s, St. Petersburg, FL has been in the process of revitalization. Once a resort destination of the ‘50s and ‘60s, the city had become more known for retirement communities than for thriving tourism and attracting younger generations interested in urban living and entertainment. One key element to this revitalization is a waterfront masterplan that centers around the creation of a new Pier District and the replacement of a once-iconic pier.

To create the Pier District, the City of St. Petersburg planned to build a new pier and reenergize the surrounding area as part of a broader economic development plan. The City had already begun design work when they engaged Colliers International to bring clarity to the project’s purpose, market positioning and brand strategy to inform real estate development, leasing, management and marketing decisions.

Previous iterations of the pier project had stalled, so it was essential that the City find a partner who could help build public support, navigate complexities and ensure a successful outcome that engages both the local community and tourists while generating a positive economic and cultural impact.

Strategy: Colliers brought together a team of Real Estate Management Services and leasing professionals with expertise in the Tampa Bay market as well as Colliers’ Destination Consulting group, which specializes in providing strategic advice to turn cities, developments, resorts and other entities into true destinations. This level of specialization and insight into brand strategy was exactly what the City needed.

By conducting a destination audit, SWOT analysis and market review, the Colliers team helped the City take a step back and clearly define the Pier District’s brand, which centered on four value propositions: Hip Meets Heritage, Family Playground, Urban Resort and Cultural Showcase. These concepts formed an actionable playbook to guide the City’s marketing efforts, real estate leasing and development approach and ongoing operations.

Result: Bolstered by Colliers’ consultative support, the City secured final funding and approval for the Pier District project. The refined brand strategy was integral in creating alignment around the vision and message for the pier project, enabling the City to build positive opinion and support from the community. The new pier officially broke ground in June 2017 and is slated to open in early 2019. Colliers will direct the leasing strategy for the Pier District and provide ongoing management services, including scheduling events and overseeing a broad team of vendors. In the coming years, Colliers will continue to draw upon the full breadth of its global platform to help ensure success for the new St. Pete Pier.